9 October 2013 With more than 600,000 postal offices around the world and an increasing reliance on services beyond physical mail, on World Post Day, senior United Nations officials urged Governments to support postal reform and modernization to ensure that services are evolving to meet customers’ needs.
“Postal services across the world are adapting and redefining themselves for a 21st-century communications landscape,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his video message for the Day.
“Postal services are engines of trade, development and growth,” Mr. Ban said. “They make an important contribution to our shared efforts to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable future for all.”
“I urge Governments to use the tremendous potential of their postal networks to reach out to their citizens and bridge the gaps in today’s information society,” he added.
The postal sector is among the world’s biggest employers with more than 5 million staff.
Physical letters continue to generate, on average, almost half of a post’s revenues, but the steady decline in business mail is forcing the sector to rethink its business model to meet new consumer habits, including through e-commerce and financial services.
“As e-commerce grows, postal services are positioning themselves as the delivery service of choice for goods ordered online,” said Bishar A. Hussein, Director General of the UN Universal Postal Union (UPU), which focuses on regulations, standards, new technologies, innovation and business diversification of the industry.
Posts delivered more than 6 billion parcels last year, according to the UPU, along with an estimated 350 billion letters.
They also processed millions of financial transactions as more and more posts expand their range of postal financial services.
Posts are taking advantage of their vast reach to meet the needs of the unbanked and citizens located in far-flung areas where traditional financial institutions are often not present, Mr. Hussein said.
“This is not a business that is going to go away anytime soon,” he told the UN News Centre earlier this year.
“I am confident that the World’s post will definitely be able to adapt to the current challenges and that traditional postal services will continue to grow and thrive in the future.”
Among future improvements, the postal sector has planned out to have common standards, regulations and rules, so that when you send a mail from one country, it goes seamlessly to another.
This is part of the “Doha Postal Strategy”; it was adopted by the UPU Congress in Doha (Qatar) in October 2012.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue